Tom Wayman's newest collection of poems, Dirty Snow, unflinchingly considers the impact of the Afghan War: its absence and presence in Canadians' everyday lives as citizens of a nation at war.
The collection explores Wayman's view that Canada's military intervention in a civil war between two odious sets of combatants has degraded Canadians' quality of life by, among other means, the conflict's relentless absorption of public funds in pursuit of dubious ends.
Wayman is also concerned with echoes of the Afghan War in the personal sphere, particularly the war's effect on the natural world in the mountain valleys of southeastern BC where the author makes his home.
Dirty Snow reveals how life in wartime taints our perception of the landscape, and how the natural cycles provide solace despite the moral and economic quagmires in which the inhabitants of the twenty-first century are attempting to conduct their lives.
From the drone of bagpipes on Kandahar Airfield to jet bombers dropping Canadian schools and hospitals on far-flung Afghan villages, Wayman is a master of potent imagery, approaching his subject with a voice that is passionate and dark, all interwoven with prose introductions, allowing readers the sense that they are present at one of Wayman's engaging public readings.
|Publisher:||Harbour Publishing Company, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A dropped school falls through air,
turning slowly as debris
pours from windows: a contrail of papers and books
streams upwards thousands of metres
alongside computers, chairs, desks that tumble amid
woodworking equipment, lockers, maps,
basketballs, stage curtains
toward tiny huts far below--a brushy hillside's
cluster of subsistence farms
reportedly harboring armed men: fenced yards
with a few chickens, one cow, an ancient horse eyeing
six rows of parched vegetables.
Above the school
while it descends,
another follows, and beyond that, nearly invisible,
a third floats as the fighter-bomber arcs
away, and a second jet drones into position.
The pilot of the first, now on the mission's homeward leg,
reaches down in his cockpit
toward a thermos of hot coffee.
On the ground, hospitals released
in the initial attack wave
erupt sequentially into plumes of fire and dust
as the buildings land: operating tables,
obstetric wards, wheelchairs shatter into shrapnel,
the jagged particles racing outward amid the roiling smoke
to slice through mud walls, animal flesh, stone fences,
human lives that cling to the shaking
while they clutch forty-year-old rifles
or axes, or the hand of a two-year-old
below the flash of wing
in the blue-and-white sky.